Gowanus BatcaveGowanus Batcave. Photo by Will Ellis.

Here are Untapped Cities’ favorite abandoned spots in New York City and the surrounding area. Some are break-in-able, some open to the public, some only for the intrepid. It features some great summer escapes like Fort Totten, Dead Horse Bay and Bannerman’s Island, as well as some great winter expeditions. Some places are harder to access, like Glenwood Power Plant and the Gowanus Batcave (both of which have recently been closed off for gutting/renovation, North Brother Island, and some of the abandoned theaters.

20. North Brother Island

North Brother Island

North Brother Island is an island of rich history: a smallpox hospital in the 1850s, where Typhoid Mary died, a home to WWII veterans, and a drug center in the 1950s. It’s now abandoned and off limits to the public. See more.


19. Hart Island

Hart Island

The 101-acre Hart Island serves as the city’s last potter’s field, for the unclaimed dead or those whose families couldn’t afford a funeral. The island is uninhabited today, but more than 800,000 have been buried there since 1869, making it the largest tax-funded cemetery in the world. Have a look into the crumbling women’s asylum as well.


18. The Lowline (Essex Delancey Williamsburg Bridge Rail Terminal)

Essex Delancey Williamsburg Bridge Rail Terminal

Observant riders of the JMZ lines are likely to have noticed a curious open space alongside the tracks at the Delancey/Essex subway station, the location for the proposed Lowline park. This dark and seemingly vacant 60,000 square foot lot is a remnant of New York City’s trolley era and dates back to 1903. Read more.


17. The Secret Train Platform Under the Waldorf-Astoria

Train car under the Waldorf-AstoriaPhoto by Wasabi Bob via Flickr

The now-barren subterranean space once served as a means to transport the Waldorf-Astoria’s more famous guests discreetly, including supposedly General Pershing and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It also supposedly served as an underground party space for Andy Warhol in 1965. Read more.


16. Red Hook Grain Terminal

Red Hook Grain TerminalPhoto by Will Ellis.

It’s been nearly fifty years since a freighter docked at the Red Hook Grain Terminal; now black mold overspreads its concrete silos like a mourning veil. See more.


15. World’s Fair Site in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

New York Pavilion

It’s been more than 50 years since the 1964 World’s Fair and there’s a documentary, along with public meetings about how to save the Tent of Tomorrow and other structures. See more.


14. City Hall Subway Station

City Hall Subway Station platform
A beautiful decommissioned subway stop sits below City Hall Park park. See it on a tour with the Transit Museum or stay on the 6 train after Brooklyn Bridge station. See more.


13. Seaview Hospital, Staten Island

Seaview Hospital Staten IslandPhoto by James and Karla Photography.

Seaview Hospital was once the largest tuberculosis sanatorium in the country, now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is also a U.S. Historic District and New York City landmark. The historic district, which was developed next to the Staten Island Farm Colony, includes 37 buildings planned and developed between 1905 and 1938. The NYC.gov website for the Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Center & Home gives no indication of the surrounding abandonment, but indeed a few organizations have returned to operate from within the grounds, including a rehab center, volunteer firefighting organization and volunteer ambulance service. The photographic team of f/11 recently took a visit inside the crumbling remains of the Children’s Hospital at Seaview, as well as the underground tunnels beneath the main building, and shared with us their photos.


12. The Queensway

The Queensway

This potential “Queens High Line” would sit on the former tracks of the LIRR Rockaway Branch line. For the intrepid, it’s worth an exploration along the old train tracks. See more.


11. Admirals Row at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Brooklyn Navy Yard Admiral's Row

The fabled Admirals Row saw partial demolition in Jan 2012 but you can still see the two last townhouses and crumbling manufacturing buildings, along with active work spaces. Read about what’ll happen to the yards.


10. Kullman Diner, West Side Highway

Kullman Diner on the West Side HighwayPhoto by Will Ellis.

Quite possibly the smallest diner in NYC, its wedged between two buildings. Empty since 2006, the chrome and green diner is now canvased with graffiti. See more.


9. Dead Horse Bay

Dead Horse Bay beachPhoto by Diana Huang for Untapped Cities

Having served as both land dump and horse rendering plant, Dead Horse Bay in Brooklyn is dotted with bottles, horse bones, abandoned boats, and vintage nicknacks including creepy toys and old hand guns. See more.


8. Abandoned Trolley Cars near the Beard Street Warehouses, Red Hook

Abandoned trolley car in Red Hook

These last abandoned trolley car is from Boston and, part of an effort by one man to bring back trolleys to Brooklyn. Read more.


7. Long Island Railroad Penny Bridge

Long Island Railroad Penny Bridge

When you’re visiting the iconic Digester Eggs at the Newtown Creek Wastewater facility (they give tours!), don’t miss this abandoned bridge along the creek next to Calvary CemeterySee more.


6. Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital

Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital

The abandoned smallpox hospital was designed by James Renwick and is a landmarked ruin. The team behind FDR Four Freedoms Park hopes to stabilize it for a visitor’s center. See more.


5. Staten Island Boat Graveyard

Staten Island Boat Graveyard

The city’s only remaining commercial marine salvage yard is located on Staten Island. Wear good shoes and explore are your own risk. Some pictures of the amazing place.


4. Fort Tilden National Park

Fort Tilden bunker

Formerly, Fort Tilden was a nuclear-armed beach that protected New York City with canons, Nike, Ajax & Hercules missiles. It’s now an explorer’s heaven of crumbling buildings and battlements. See more.


3. Bannerman’s Island

Bannerman Island from the water

Castles? In New York? Why, yes! The ruins of Bannerman’s Island are a must, built by the Bannerman family as a warehouse facility for a military surplus business in 1901. Get there by boat or kayak, tours available.

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2. Ellis Island South Side Hospitals

JR work on Ellis Island hospitalPassageway around an open air circular courtyard as seen on the Untapped Cities Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital. Photo by James and Karla Photography.

Hiding in plain sight, the abandoned South Side Hospitals on Ellis Island were one of the largest public health undertakings in US history. While Ellis Island has become one of New York City’s top tourist attractions, drawing over two million visitors per year, the 22-building South Side hospital complex is hidden in plain sight, just to the left of disembarking passengers headed towards the Great Hall.

After immigration restriction laws shut down Ellis Island as a port of entry, the complex was left to decay for nearly 60 years. Looking at its desolate, skeletal frame now, it’s difficult to imagine that it was once the standard for United States medical care and one of the largest public health undertakings in American history. See more photographs of the amazing buildings and crumbling interiors.


1. Glenwood/Yonkers Power Plant

Glenwood Yonkers power plant interior

Seven miles north of the Manhattan stands the ruin of the Glenwood/Yonkers power station, once associated with the New York Central and Hudson River Railroads. Interior demolition has begun, with plans to convert it into a hotel and conference center. See photos from 2012 and 2013.

Bonus: 7 Abandoned Subway Stations and 9 Abandoned and Incomplete Subway Platforms and Levels

17 thoughts on “20 Abandoned Places in NYC: Asylums, Hospitals, Power Plants, Islands, Forts

  1. Please do a ‘view all on one page’. Waiting for pages to load and I lose patience with lots of clicking very quickly! 🙂

    1. We do have it, it’s under the blue bar! And starting Wednesday it will also be on mobile. 🙂

  2. We went for a drill at the Navy Yard around 1997, during the drill we had about 2 hours downtime, so we walked around the place. At that time , you could literally walk into these buildings , no locks , no fences. Of course this was before cameras on cell phones and certainly no one had a camera , but we went in 3 of them , there were still pictures , file cabinets and in a closet was a white officers jacket , covered in bird crap , but it was as if the place closed and everyone just left !!! Was awesome , many were still there since my last time passing there in 2014 but they are in much worse condition….but if I could , I would still explore them !!!!!

  3. are all of these places allowed to be walked into to explore? I wont get a record for tresspassing?

    1. It’s all at your own risk, with most of these and without being on a sanctioned tour (sometimes we run tours on Untapped Cities of abandoned places in partnership with the city), you would be trespassing. There are a few on this list that are part of parks and can be seen from the exterior.

    1. ??? The first one is in Yonkers and the last one is near Beacon, the other 18 are all in the city

  4. Very cool! I’m researching a horror novel that I’m working on, and yoou’ve given me plenty of great ideas for locations thanks to these eerie photos

  5. how can I find out how to purchase soe of these abaned metal buildings please email me let me know I thank u for ur time

    1. Ok, but bring someone who can actually count. If your spelling is any indication of your math skills, you’ll probably need them. Just sayin’

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